Carbon capture plant opens in North West England

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A carbon capture and usage plant, described as “the UK’s first and largest industrial scale plant” has been opened today by Northwich-based Tata Chemicals Europe (TCE), one of Europe’s leading producers of sodium carbonate, salt and sodium bicarbonate.

Demonstrating the viability of the technology to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from power plant emissions for use in high end manufacturing applications, the plant is set to capture 40,000 tonnes of CO2 each year, the equivalent emissions of over 20,000 cars.

In what is being described as “a wold-first”, CO2 captured from energy generation emissions (TCE are already generating heat and electricity from a CHP plant) is being purified to food and pharmaceutical grade and used as a raw material in the manufacture of a Net Zero sodium bicarbonate being called Ecokarb®, set to be exported to over 60 countries globally. Much of the sodium bicarbonate exported will be used in haemodialysis to treat people living with kidney disease. Other applications include glass, washing detergents, food, animal feed and water purification. 

Liquid CO2 Storage tanks at the carbon capture plant
Liquid CO2 Storage Tanks at the carbon capture plant

The carbon capture plant has been supported by a £4.2m grant from BEIS’ Energy Innovation Programme. It is set to reduce TCE’s carbon emissions by more than 10%  and generate tens of millions of pounds of export revenue every year through sales of Ecokarb®.

Martin Ashcroft, Managing Director of Tata Chemicals Europe, said:

“The completion of the carbon capture and utilisation (“CCU”) demonstration plant enables us to reduce our carbon emissions, whilst securing our supply of high purity carbon dioxide, a critical raw material, helping us to grow the export of our pharmaceutical grade products across the world.

“With the support of our parent company, Tata Chemicals, and BEIS, we have been able to deliver this hugely innovative project, enabling our UK operations to take a major step in our carbon emissions reduction journey. 

‘’This project is a great example of business and Government together rising to the challenge of decarbonising energy intensive industrial manufacturing. The innovation to create this unique process is a major step forwards in the green industrial revolution and has been recognised by the award of a UK patent and patents pending in key territories across the world for the process.”

Speaking about the opening of the plant, Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

“This cutting-edge plant demonstrates how carbon capture is attracting new private capital into the UK and is boosting new innovation in green technologies.

“We are determined to make the UK a world-leader in carbon capture, which will help us reduce emissions and be a key part of the future of British industry.”

More information Tata Chemicals Europe and its’ carbon capture plant can be found on the company’s website.

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